Monday, March 23, 2015

Kay Archtop

When I was a kid I used to see these Kay archtops in the back of magazines and always wondered whether you should have one of these if you were going to be a professional guitarist. I never got one. In 2007, I stopped at Paul Roger's auction shop in Pleasantville just to see if he had any instruments. In the back of the shop was this old Kay that had been rained on - there were stains on the front - a it had been dented pretty good on the top and badly repaired. He wanted 20$ for it and thought it might look good as a decoration. It could have been made anytime between 1935-1956. It says on the Kay seal inside the guitar – "World’s Largest Manufacturers of String instruments, Kay Musical Instrument Co., Chicago, Established 1890."  The pickguard on it is original. The tuners were not in good shape and the action was way to high. I repaired and re-varnished the spruce top lightly and left the maple sides and back alone. It got a new trapeze, a new bridge, and new tuners.  Recently I installed a P90 pickup in it and tone and volume controls on the front with some ancient Fender amp knobs. The Kay logo on the headstock is classic. It makes an great slide guitar as well as a finger picking monster. I finally got my Kay archtop.

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